This is the story of how one of the greatest Muslim leaders of all time became a Muslim. This is the conversion story of ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (Radhiyallahu Anhu).
‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radhiyallahu Anhu) was a feared and well respected man from the Banu Adi clan from among the Quraish. He came from a middle class family from Makkah. Well known for his determination and fearless nature; he became one of the early opponents of the religion of Islam.
During the days prior to his acceptance to Islam; the religion was being taught in private. There was fear of persecution from the Quraish. The Muslims would meet in homes, and would learn the religion from Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam).
There were few men that had carried so much honor and fear among the Quraish. ‘Umar ibn al Khattab was one of them. That is why, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam once made a Dua(invocation) to Allah:
“O Allah! Give Islam strength through one of the men you love more: ‘Umar ibn al Khattab or Amr ibn al Hisham(Abu Jahl)”
Umm Abdullah(Radhiallahu Anha)was running one day and had the plan to leave Makkah because of the persecutions. She ran into, fellow tribesmen, ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) who asked her, “Why are you running around??” She responded, “You have caused us too much pain for worshiping Allah.” To her shock ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu told her, “have peace on your journey.” Umm Abdullah radhiyallahu anha told her brother that she ran into ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab, and her brother responded “He’s going to kill us.”
Islam began to soften the heart of ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu
One day ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab Radhiyallahu anhu went to visit the Haram. Once there he saw the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam praying in front of his eyes. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam)was reciting Surah Haqqah(the Reality). Soon after listening to it he said “By Allah, this is poetry as the Quraish have said.” Right when he said this; Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam) recited:
ﺇِﻧَّﻪُ ﻟَﻘَﻮْﻝُ ﺭَﺳُﻮﻝٍ ﻛَﺮِﻳﻢٍ
ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﻫُﻮَ ﺑِﻘَﻮْﻝِ ﺷَﺎﻋِﺮٍ ﻗَﻠِﻴﻠًﺎ ﻣَﺎ ﺗُﺆْﻣِﻨُﻮﻥَ
“That this is verily the word of an honoured Messenger
It is not the word of a poet, little is that you believe!” (69:40-41)
Surprised by the verses, he said to himself “He must be a soothsayer.” Another accusation made by the Quraish. As soon as he said that; the next verses were recited:
ﻭَﻟَﺎ ﺑِﻘَﻮْﻝِ ﻛَﺎﻫِﻦٍ ﻗَﻠِﻴﻠًﺎ ﻣَﺎ ﺗَﺬَﻛَّﺮُﻭﻥَ
ﺗَﻨﺰِﻳﻞٌ ﻣِّﻦ ﺭَّﺏِّ ﺍﻟْﻌَﺎﻟَﻤِﻴﻦَ
“Nor is it the word of a soothsayer , little is that you remember!
This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)” (69: 42-43)
Later on in life, when speaking of this moment, ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu said “This is when Islam entered my heart.”
Hazrat Umar radhiyallahu anhu was a headstrong young man of great determination. He was brought up to venerate the Kaabah and to cherish the unity of the Quraysh and their religion.
That is why he saw Islam as a threat to the Quraysh and became most violent and unrestrained in his attacks on Muslims. He was one of the most rabid enemies of Islam and of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), the Messenger of God, and was a great tormentor of the Muslims. That is why conversion of hazrat umar radhiyallahu anhu to islam is very famous incident in Islamic history.
It was the sixth year of Holy Prophet’s mission when Quraish leaders called a meeting . in this meeting they discussed the current situation of tribe, the most prevailing one of which was the new emerging religion Islam.
All the leaders greed upon the assassination of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Now problem was, who would perform that task. At one moment, all eyes turned towards this fearless man, who had come forth. They saw that he was Umar, the Son of khattab . The Qurayshis were confident that Umar bin khattab radhiyallahu anhu was more than capable. Umar bin khattab radhiyallahu anhu, being famous of his bravery , fearlessness and hatred for islam , was chosen for this job and everybody in the meeting exclaimed that he was the right person for it.
‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu), a man known for determination and his anger, made a sudden decision of killing Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa alaihi wassalam). Even though Islam was slowly entering his heart; the hatred he had for the new religion still existed. So on that day that he just decided that he was going kill the Messenger of Allah. On his way he ran into Sa’ad bin Waqqas (Radhiyallahu Anhu)who began to talk to him.
When Sa’ad radhiyallahu anhu found out that ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu wanted to kill the Prophet; Hazrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas radhiyallahu anhu went cold all over upon hearing this dreadful decision and looked for ways to discourage him from his intention. he told ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu that maybe he should deal with his sister first inferring that she became Muslim.So Umar radhiyallahu anhu changed his direction and started to move towards his sister’s house.
Umar bin khattab rahdiyallahu anhu came to the door (of the house of his sister) , he heard some voices of recitation coming from inside home .There he called out to her angrily as he approached. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt Radhiyallahu anhu who often came to recite the Quran to Saeed bin Zaid radhiyallahu anhu and Fatimah radhiyallahu anha was with them then, and they were reciting Surah Ta ha.
Hearing the furious voice of her brother, she hide the holy Quran in home, mean while Umar bin khattab radhiyallahu anhu entered the house.
Entering the house he asked “ what was that voice coming from house when I approached ?” They tried to assure him that it was only normal conversation that he had heard but he insisted: “Hear it I did,” he said, “and it is possible that you have both become renegades.” Hazrat Umar bin khattab radhiyallahu anhu exploded in wrath at what he believed to be a prevarication, and struck his sister in her face.
The blow caused her mouth to bleed. He was going to strike again but the sight of blood made him pause. He suddenly appeared to relent, and then in a changed tone asked her to show him what she was reading. She sensed a change in him but said: “You are an unclean idolater, and I cannot allow you to touch the Word of Allah.” He washed his body and then read the Quran. That was the beginning of Surah Ta Ha (Chapter 20 of the Holy Quran). When he came to the verse:
“Lo! I even I, am Allah, there is no god save Me. So serve Me and establish Salat for My remembrance”. (Surah Ta Ha 20: verse 14)
After Reading this verse Umar Radhiyallahu anhu exclaimed “surely this is the word of Allah. Take me to Muhammad (s.allallaahu Alaihi Wasallam)”.
On hearing this Hazrat Khabbab (Radhiyallahu anhu), who had hidden himself in the house, came out from inside and said, “O Umar! Glad tidings for you. It seems that the prayer of the Rasulallah (s.a.w) which he said last night has been answered in your favour. He prayed to Allah: “O Allah, strengthen Islam with either Umar b. Khattab or Umar b. Hisham, whomsoever Thou pleaseth”
Now ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu returned on his plan to visit the Prophet. While he made the stop at his sister’s house; Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas radhiyallahu anhu went and warned the Prophet and his companions of ‘Umar’s intentions.
When ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu got to the house with sword in hand. The warrior Hamza ibn AbdulMutallib (Radhiallahu Anhu) said, “I will kill him with his own sword.” The Prophet(Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam) told him, “No, go hide.”
When ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu entered the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam) grabbed ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu by the collar and shook him; then asked him, “O Ibn Al Khattab, Why have you not accepted Islam?” ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (Radhiallahu Anhu)responded:
ﺃﺷﻬﺪ ﺃﻥ ﻻ ﺇﻟﻪ ﺇﻻَّ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻭ ﺃﺷﻬﺪ ﺃﻥ ﻣﺤﻤﺪﺍ ﺭﺳﻮﻝ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ
“I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The Muslims that were hiding began yelling “ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺃﻛﺒﺮ ”(God is the Greatest). This became so loud that it could be heard through out Makkah. Till this day, when a person accepts Islam, upon him finishing his deceleration the people say “ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺃﻛﺒﺮ ”
After years of secretly spreading Islam, from that moment on, Islam began being preached in the open. Outside for everyone to accept.
Immediately after becoming Muslim; ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu asked Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wassalam), “Who is the hardest on the Muslims?” The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa alaihi wassalam) told him it was Abu Jahl ibn Hisham. So ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu immediately went to the house of Abu Jahl and knocked on his door. Abu Jahl greeted his nephew, but then ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu said to him “I am a Muslim now.” Upon hearing that Abu Jahl slammed the door on his face.
The young Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu Anhu), the son of ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu, who secretly was already Muslim at a very young age could not be happier. When he found out he began running through the streets yelling “‘Umar has left the religion of your forefathers.”
Within one hour of becoming Muslim; ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu began fighting with the Quraish. Many of the Polytheist came out and began fighting with ‘Umar. When ‘Umar began to fatigue, he would grab an honored son of Quraish and threatened everybody that he would poke his eyes out if they didn’t back off. He continued to
do this until he was completely tired.
This is what made ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (Radiallahu Anhu) special. He was a man of action. He not only believed, but he did something. We can all take a lesson from his life. We sit around and we have been Muslim for days, weeks, months, years, and most of us our whole lives. This man was Muslim for just an hour, and began fighting for his faith. How can we be too lazy to do anything; when we hava an example like ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab radhiyallahu anhu??